In my never-ending search for a paperless existence, I try to digitize more and more of the printed material languishing on my bookshelves. This includes a huge amount of comics that I seem to have collected over the years.
There are many free comic book readers available for your computer and tablet. So if you have the time, it makes sense to scan your comics and read them on your device instead.
But how do you get comics ready for devices? This is what we will look at today.
Get pages in the correct image format
Scanning your comics can be a little tedious, depending on how many of them you have and how many pages each. But once you get into a rhythm, it will happen before you know it.
Obviously you need a scanner and you just need to scan every page. You can save each page as one image file, or scan two pages side by side as one image file (as in the screenshot above). I try to do only one page at a time to keep the resolution as high as possible.
After scanning the page, trim the edges to remove unwanted areas and make them clearer. I would not recommend resizing the image. Leave it at full size for easier reading.
After scanning the pages, rename the images in the order they appear in the comic. So 01.jpg, 02.jpg and so on. This will ensure that they are all in the correct order.
Convert your pages to the correct file format for the reading application
Once you’ve scanned all the pages and numbered them in the correct order, it’s time to create a file that will be loaded into your comic reader. It is a CBR (Comic Book Reader) or CBZ (Comic ZIP Archive) file format.
It doesn’t matter which one you use, but as the CBZ name clearly suggests, the file itself is a zip file. The images are compressed in a zip file and loaded into a comic reader. The reader then loads the pages in the numerical order that you give each page.
There are various tools that you can use to archive files. Paid tools include Winzip and WinRAR. A good free tool for Windows is 7-Zip. But for both Windows and macOS, the archiving function is built right into the operating system.
Place all scanned numbered pages in a separate folder and give the folder a comic name. Then on macOS, right-click the folder and choose Compress.
In Windows, right-click the folder and select Send To–> Compressed (Zipped) Folder.
Your zip file containing your images will be generated. Now you can delete the folder with the original scanned images of the comics if you like.
Now change the file format from zip to CBR or CBZ. It honestly doesn’t matter which one you use. I’ve always done CBR, but only because I like the sound of it. Yes, I know, I’m so weird.
Free comic book readers
If you do a simple Google search, you are spoiled for choice on which reader to use. But here are the ones that are considered the best of all.
In all cases, the application will tell you when you open how to download the CBR file or the CBZ file you just created. If you are using a tablet app, it will likely direct you to a cloud storage account where you should have your comic files ready to download.
- MComix (PC)
- YACReader (Windows, MacOS, Linux)
- Nanits (iOS)
- iComix (iOS )
- ComicFlow (iOS)
- Comixology – Owned by Amazon, they always have free offers.
- Archive.org – there are a lot of old ones here, but I’m not entirely sure if they are all legal. So proceed with caution.
- The Digital Comics Museum is one of my favorites. All of them are in the public domain and contain many “cellulose” comics from the 1920s and 1950s. I think the end point for getting public domain status is December 1959.
- Comic Book Plus is another site dedicated to public domain comics dating back to the early 20th century. There are some real gems here if you look a little.
If the idea of ??scanning comics is too tedious for you, you can find many places to find legal free comics to download.